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Supreme Court of Canada Ruling Will Help Establish a Climate of Certainty for Business in British Columbia

PRNewswire
VANCOUVER, British Columbia
Nov 18, 2004

Weyerhaeuser Company Limited says a ruling today by the Supreme Court of Canada clarifies dealings among governments, companies, and aboriginal communities. The Supreme Court found that the duty to consult and accommodate rests solely with the government, not with businesses and third parties.

  (Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040116/WYLOGO-a
          http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040116/WYLOGO-b )

Government is called upon to have in place reasonable processes to address aboriginal interests. The processes do not give aboriginal groups "a veto over what can be done with land pending final proof of the claim" rather the government must balance aboriginal interests with broader societal interests. The Court observed that the Government of British Columbia has introduced measures that appear to meet the required standard.

"By providing greater certainty about the process of balancing aboriginal interests with others, the ruling will encourage reconciliation and economic activity," said Sandy McDade, President of Weyerhaeuser Company Limited. "The decision reflects a reasoned balancing of interests and shows how aboriginal interests can be addressed in a meaningful way."

"While businesses can and do play a constructive role in working with aboriginal groups, this decision provides needed clarity and establishes that businesses can rely on the reasonable policies of government in addressing aboriginal claims," said McDade. "Weyerhaeuser remains committed to working constructively with aboriginal groups throughout Canada."

Weyerhaeuser and the B.C. Government went before the Supreme Court of Canada in March to clarify a B.C. Court of Appeal ruling that sought to impose on both government and businesses a duty to consult and seek to find workable accommodations with First Nations who have claimed, but not proven, aboriginal title.

The B.C. Government appealed the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada, and Weyerhaeuser sought clarification about the source, scope and nature of any duty that third parties may have regarding aboriginal claims. The Court ruled in Weyerhaeuser's favor, saying that third-parties do not owe independent duties of consultation and accommodation.

Weyerhaeuser has many business relationships with aboriginals across Canada, including Iisaak Forest Resources, an ecologically sensitive forest services company that operates in Clayoquot Sound, and Wapawekka Lumber Limited Partnership, a sawmill located north of Prince Albert, co-owned with three First Nations.

Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY), one of the world's largest integrated forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2003, sales were $27.8 billion (US$19.9 billion). It has offices or operations in 19 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction, development and related activities. Weyerhaeuser Company Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary, has Exchangeable Shares listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WYL. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at www.weyerhaeuser.com.

CONTACT: Sarah Goodman of Weyerhaeuser, +1-604-661-8408

Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040116/WYLOGO-a
http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20040116/WYLOGO-b
AP Archive: http://photoarchive.ap.org/
PRN Photo Desk, photodesk@prnewswire.com

SOURCE: Weyerhaeuser Company Limited

CONTACT: Sarah Goodman of Weyerhaeuser, +1-604-661-8408

Web site: http://www.weyerhaeuser.com/


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